22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.


Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu is suggesting that if you are facing an opponent who is easily angered or irritable, you should try to provoke them in order to make them lose their temper. By pretending to be weak, you may be able to goad them into becoming overconfident and making mistakes. This strategy is based on the idea that when an opponent is angry or arrogant, they are more likely to act impulsively and make poor decisions, which can be exploited to your advantage. It is important to note, however, that this approach can be risky and should only be used with caution.

From a business perspective, the quote suggests that if a business is dealing with a competitor who is easily angered or agitated, they should try to annoy or provoke them in order to gain an advantage. By pretending to be weak or vulnerable, the business can make the competitor overconfident and cause them to make mistakes. This strategy can be used to gain a competitive edge and potentially gain market share from the opponent.

For example, if a competitor is planning to launch a new product, the business could announce a similar product with a similar name but with a more advanced feature set. This could cause confusion among customers and potentially harm the competitor’s launch. The competitor may become angry or irritated at the business for disrupting their plans, giving the business an advantage in the market.